The key to finding your perfect home is to spend some time thinking about what you and your family need and desire to compliment your lifestyle. Explore communities comparing and contrasting the different conveniences, services and amenities they offer. Then think about and prioritize your "wish list." Consider style preferences, desirable features and ideal locale. Once you have analyzed your preferences and determined how much house you need, your next step should be to contact a mortgage professional who can help you determine the monthly expenses associated with your purchase and provide expert financial advice. Spend time online previewing homes in your price range and in the areas you've selected.


On my site, you can search by price, town or school district. There is an interactive mapping program to help you locate properties. You may also sign up for My Houlihan Lawrence, an email notification program that will automatically forward properties which most closely match your preferences.


Finally, as your realtor it is my primary goal to keep all channels of communication open. As your neighborhood expert, I will make the entire local inventory available to you and work hard to show you as many properties as you need to see so that you may make the best selection! FINDING YOUR PERFECT HOME


Advice for First-Time Buyers


Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage broker and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home.

Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a pre-approval letter from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-approved for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. There is generally no cost for pre-approval and one can be obtained quickly.


List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes, things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.


Representation by a Professional: Consider hiring your own real estate agent, one who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller.


Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:

One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.

A file of the properties that your agent has shown to you, along with ads you have cut out from the newspaper.

Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search.

Instant or video camera to help refresh your memory on individual properties, especially if you are attending a series of showings.

Location: Look at a potential property as if you are the seller. Would a prospective buyer find it attractive based on school district, crime rate, proximity to positive (shopping, parks, freeway access) and negative (abandoned properties, garbage dump, source of noise) features of the area?

Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?


Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later.


Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:

Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.

Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.

Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.

You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).

All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please email me or call me directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.